THE CARROLL COX SHOW
NEWS AND COMMENTARY
January 23, 2014
Quite often we hear or see Presidents, First Ladies, State Senators, and State elected officials gloating over and praising the servicemen and servicewomen of this country. We have come to expect stories on the evening news, the morning news, and other media, praising, honoring, and awarding some of these men and women for their service and promising to take care of them, especially if they have a service related injury. While most of those that served didn't receive injuries directly related to their service, they were and still are being recruited with promises that they will be eligible for ongoing medical care through programs administered by the United States Veterans Administration.
But, what happens after you have a major medical event that renders you immobile and confined to a wheelchair, you find yourself in need of such care, you are evaluated and approved to receive the promised care, but then the Veterans Administration abruptly halts their care or services without explanation or justification.
That is exactly what former Serviceman Charles P. Canamar of Honolulu, Hawaii, is experiencing after he was admitted to the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he had both of his legs amputated due to complications from diabetes. Mr. Canamar was fitted for a pair of prosthetic legs by a private company, Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. , that has a contract with the Veterans Administration to manufacture prosthetics. In preparation for use of the prescribed prosthetic legs, Mr. Canamar attended a number of rehabilitation sessions with the contractor and the Veterans Administration employees. Then, the Veterans Administration abruptly cancelled Mr. Canamar's participation in the rehabilitation sessions and booted him from the program, leaving him still in need of, but without being given his prosthetic legs.
Like many of you, I watched intently as Mr. Canamar desperately attempted to get the attention of President Barack Obama as he was leaving or returning in the presidential motorcade, to and from the presidential vacation compound.
I met with Mr. Canamar and spoke with him in Salt Lake, a community on the Island of Oahu, where he routinely "panhandles" to obtain money for haircuts and the basic household necessities he is in need of. Mr. Canamar shared with me that he initially thought that losing his legs to diabetes had a psychological impact that was difficult to accept and deal with in his adult life, but, as he soon found out, nothing could compare to the abrupt cancellation of his rehabilitation sessions and the cancellation of his prosthetic legs by the Veterans Administration. He also described how the prosthetic legs would have allowed him the ability to independently leave his wheelchair to relieve himself.
I investigated the matter and found some very disturbing information that does not speak well for the Veterans Administration or its programs. Their actions are tantamount to being the village bully.
I spoke with officials at Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc., the company that manufactured the prosthetic legs to fit Mr. Canamar. We learned from the Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. representative that, without any explanation or cause, the Veterans Administration abruptly cancelled the order for the prosthetics they had already authorized Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. to manufacture. Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. also told me that after cancelling the order the Veterans Administration did not pay for the prosthetics it had ordered and authorized Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. to manufacture. The total cost for the prosthetics that were manufactured specifically for Mr. Canamar was $20,213.12, they had not been paid for, and they had no indication that the Veterans Administration would ever pay. We were also told by the Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. representative that they had communicated in writing to the Veterans Administration that Mr. Canamar did well in his first fittings and Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. is disappointed because Mr. Canamar proved them wrong about his ability to prepare for the rehabilitation, fittings, and eventual use of the prosthetics Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. had manufactured for him. After the Veteran Administration's order to cancel their order for the prosthetics for Mr. Canamar, Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. then canceled any future services for Mr. Canamar.
I was able to obtain documents confirming the information and statements provided by the Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. I was also able to photograph the prosthetics that Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. made specifically for Mr. Canamar. The prosthetics are still lying on a shelf at Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc., collecting dust. To add insult to injury, the Veterans Administration did not advise Mr. Canamar that he could appeal the cancellation of his prescription for the prosthetic legs.
When I contacted the Veterans Administration I was told that they could not speak with the media on this subject and directed me to call their public information officer. I put in a call to the information officer but never received a return call or any information regarding Mr. Canamar's situation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Canamar is asking, "Why am I being singled out by the Veterans Administration?" .
Like Mr. Canamar, I would also like to know why Mr. Canamar is being singled out by the Veterans Administration.
According to the Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics of the Pacific, Inc. representative, after they suggested to the Veterans Administration that the Veterans Administration should give Mr. Canamar an explanation for the abrupt cancellation, the Veterans Administration refused to do so.
Like children who outgrow their GI JOE figures and discard them in the trash, does the Veterans Administration see former servicemen, like Charles P. Canamar, as toys it can discard because it has no more use for Mr. Canamar or others like him?
Just when I thought things could not get any worse, I learned from anonymous sources that the Veterans Administration's top managers and public Information officers were closely watching the situation, and were poised to announce that the Veterans Administration would take positive actions to resolve Mr. Canamar's issue if Mr. Canamar's public appeal was covered by the major media sources and captured the attention of President Obama or his staff. After Canamar's appeal failed to gain traction with the media the Veterans Administration employees were celebrating and proclaimed they had dodged the bullet on this one.
This is a story that needs to be told. Hopefully now something can be done.
Carroll Cox is the host of the independent radio show, "THE CARROLL COX SHOW", airing every Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KWAI 1080 AM.
Contact Carroll at CARROLL@CARROLLCOX.COM
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